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Thursday, February 02, 2023

Legislation aiming to allow guns on campus is back in the Florida Senate chamber.

Sen. Greg Evers filed legislation earlier this month amending a Florida statute to allow concealed weapon license holders to conceal carry firearms on Florida campuses — including Santa Fe College and UF.

The bill is currently under review by the Criminal Justice Committee. If approved, the change would take effect next July.

Under Florida law, individuals 18 years or older can store their guns only in vehicles while on university property, UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes wrote in an email.

"UF has consistently opposed changes to existing state law that prohibits guns on campus with limited exceptions," Sikes said. "We look to law enforcement for recommendations on matters of public safety. The State of Florida University Police Chiefs, including UF Police Chief Linda Stump, are united in opposition to any legislation that would allow guns on campus."

Santa Fe Police Chief Ed Book said the college would also oppose any such legislation.

Despite the administrative opposition, some students want firearm protection.

President of Students for Concealed Carry at UF Joshua Roe, 33, said he supports concealed carry on campus because of the protection his firearm provides him and because it helps to balance potential power disparities and provides a means of self protection.

"We have a very good police department at the University of Florida," he said. But, with so many students, he said, it’s not possible for police officers to protect everyone.

"The reality is that there’s no way they can personally secure and ensure the security of every individual on campus," Roe said.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect a correction. Florida SB 68, if passed, would only call for concealed carry of firearms on campus, not open carry. The Alliagtor initially reported otherwise. Also from the same story, Student for Concealed Carry president Joshua Roe carries a firearm because it "helps to balance potential power disparities and provides a means of self protection."

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